The movement to bring music of today back into the core of the normal experience
of amateur music making, which used to be the norm in earlier times, is gaining
force at the close of the Millennium. Thalia Myers' award winning brainchild
Spectrum arose from her concern at the dearth of good contemporary
piano music which was technically accessible for her students, and deserving
of inclusion in recitals. Its runaway success has now begotten a follow-up
volume of 30 easier pieces by all the twenty composers who had accepted the
earlier commission, plus ten more including Richard Rodney Bennett and John
Tavener and many other famous British composers.
Spectrum 2 (ABRSM Publishing £5.95) was unveiled before
a large invited audience including most of the contributing composers at
Wigmore Hall in May. Thalia Myers' demanding brief was that composers should
pare their music down to one or two pages, yet without sacrificing or
compromising the essentials of their individual styles. Spectrum 2
explores succinctly many pianistic and notational problems across the
gamut of contemporary idioms. Performance of the whole book made for a delightful
three-quarter hour's listening, and now all the 50 Spectrum + Spectrum
2 pieces are available on NMC's CD, D057.
Thalia Myers plays with sensitive phrasing, and her attention to detail give
some of these little pieces a stature one might not suspect. The recorded
sound and presentation are exemplary and this is an important enterprise
to have reached fulfilment at this time, when there are signs that amateur
musicians might once again be coming into their own.